Avoiding the Scheduling Extremes :: BuJo Setup Mini Series

May 2016 165

Confession: I’m just a woman who learns from all my many (daily) planning failures; I’m really not a scheduling guru.

Also, I’m pretty normal when it comes to busy seasons of life – I fall into the lazy mode of letting things coast. Have you been lured into the “schedule-break” temptation too? The bait goes something like this:

“Living moment by moment isn’t so bad! Things are getting done, taking a break from writing out a ‘week at a glance’ isn’t a big deal, and I’ll remember that appointment – no need to write it down.”

After giving into these thoughts for weeks (or even months!), I wake up one day way too stressed for the level of activities in my life and way too overwhelmed by the amount of list-items swirling around in my head.

The pendulum has swung and I’ve gone from one extreme to the other – hyper-scheduling to under-scheduling.

When I swing too many times, I go a little bit nuts and start to think in extremes:

“I’ll never be able to manage our calendar.”

“I will always fall behind on laundry.”

“I never remember to take our library resources back on time.”

“I’m always running late for our appointments.”

And this is when I have to admit to myself (and others) that I need a Bullet Journal intervention. I need to stop avoiding the work, stop neglecting the truth – that organization is best in small daily doses, and stop over taxing my brain by trying to just remember it all. Just by spending 15 minutes per day, I can completely order my life and trade my crazy for calm.

Have you tried using a Bullet Journal? Do you use it for your calendar too? If so, do you copy your schedule in multiple places? Does that help? Why or why not?

I want this series to be super practical, and that means addressing potential setbacks before you even begin. The swinging back and forth between the scheduling extremes is common. Don’t feel bad about doing this in the past. Now I want to give you some ideas to think about. I call these questions The Big Jump. (Soon I’ll focus on the baby steps.)

I need to set aside an hour to have a JDM – Journal Defining Moment. This is when I decide what the scope of my BuJo (Bullet Journal) will be. I answer these questions:

  • Will my BuJo be my calendar too?
  • Do I need to write out the months in advance or just each week?
  • What other planners and/or organizers am I currently using? Are they working?
  • Am I going to include journaling space too?
  • What categories of my life will go into this BuJo? Homeschooling? Personal Growth? Family Activity Calendar? Business Goals? Etc.
  • Do I feel creative and what tools do I want to try to use? Am I satisfied with this BuJo being plain?
  • Is it important to me to be economic or visually appealing* with my entries?
  • What “Mom Bag” will I use to carry it in and will I commit to taking it everywhere? (This may seem like an unnecessary question but I will address why it’s a big jump question later on.)

* I say visually appealing not creative because even though I can create some pretty pages sometimes, my right hand tends to shake and I can’t guarantee pretty handwriting all the time. I like to use markers and larger point pens because when I write too small, the strain hurts my hand too much. SO. I will never be the person who can boast of being a closet hand-letter-er. But I do like to make my pages visually pleasing to me. Meaning: Spacious, colorful, and clearly readable. I tried being super efficient with my pages for a while – cramming more than one day or more than one list onto a single page and that made me crazy. You, however, may feel more productive setting yours up this way. You do you.

Can you think of other questions that would be important for your personality to think through before you take a big jump into a new BuJo? List it out and face it before you start! This will set you up for personal success. Many times I look at other Pinterest-worthy BuJos and think “Oh…in a perfect world, I would just copy their set-up!” But they don’t have 4 kids, or work 3 jobs, or their spouse works from home and their home set up is catastrophically different than mine!

Hear me: To successfully set up YOUR BuJo, you have to do it for YOU. Copying mine or even the expert BuJos online will only set you up to quit a quarter of the way through it.

And I bet you know what that means.

You will feel like a failure, let your scheduling slide, and wind up stressed and overwhelmed a-g-a-i-n.

And one more tip before you start the next step: don’t take the Big Jump until the timing is right for you. How do you know if the timing is right?

Easy:

  • If you are reading this post and thinking: Wow, that’s really great for her. It sounds like she’s really thought this through. I may give that a try sometime. THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR YOU.
  • But if you are reading this post and thinking: She’s reading my mind. I need to start this process yesterday! I’m ready to do this for ME. THIS IS DEFINITELY THE RIGHT TIME FOR YOU.

Ready for more? The mini series will continue! Did you miss the first post in this series? Click here. Want to see what tools I use? I wrote about them here. 

Write Your Plan: Homeschool Planning Tip #5

HPT 5 Write Your Plan

Feeling the pressure to get ready for the first day of school?

Last year, I wanted to force myself to use my time wisely in preparing for a new school year. So I made my daily work public by writing everyday for the month of August. (You can see the whole list of topics here.)

Depending on your family’s needs, this may be crunch time for getting your homeschool ready for the new year. Whether you’ve procrastinated and have nothing ready or you’ve steadily gathered your resources and feel ready, you’ll make some sort of plan (even if it’s just in your head).

But the bigger challenge we all face is creating a plan that can be put into action (you know, not the “ideal” plan but a “real” plan). 

Here’s how:*

#1 Start by mapping your family’s year. This step is defined for you in this post.

#2 Be the student. Read all the Instructor’s Guides, Introductions, and anything else included for the teacher in each of your resources. Pace yourself; don’t attempt this all at once! I disagree with experts who say that you can schedule a Saturday and crunch this all out. I prefer to read one subject at a time. I mull over the information and I don’t move on until I really feel like I understand it. My main goal for this step is to really grasp the main point of the resource. I want to be able to express this goal in my own words.

Ideal. All my resources tidy and in order while reviewing them.

Ideal. All my resources tidy and in order while reviewing them.

#3 Make it your own! Once you grasp the author’s goal for the resource, then you can define your own measure of success in utilizing it. I ask myself this question: “What will it take for us to master this subject?” In most teaching resources, they include a scope and sequence but it may not be titled as such. It might be the “introduction” (scope) and “sample schedule” (sequence).

#4 Pencil in a plan that fits your family. Don’t over stress the details nor throw your schedule to the wind.

Real. This is what it actually looked like while I read and reviewed my resources.

Real. This is what it actually looked like while I read and reviewed my resources.

Here’s what I do:

Read the introductions and sample schedules

Count the number of chapters and divide the material by the number of weeks needed to account for school (remember to review your state’s requirements for what you need to account for)

Plan for the first term and stop there (Resist the temptation to fill in your blank calendar.) Writing only what I hope to accomplish within the first 4-6 weeks allows me to gain perspective on how we actually handle our resources without the pressure to keep the pace. After the first term, I can then adjust our pace based on the first term without having to rewrite our whole year plan.

Write a sample week including all the subjects (Look for a post – coming soon – “A Busy Mom’s Guide to Weekly Homeschool Planning“) 

Use my Ultimate Homeschool Planner’s monthly and weekly worksheets:

  • Monthly set’s a bare bones skeleton
  • Weekly set’s a limited focus on only what I need to accomplish

Pray and get to work!

If there’s one last piece of advice I can leave you with, it is to have confidence. You can figure out how to use the tools you have, you will be able to manage all the parts of your homeschool (with patience and practice), and you are the best teacher for your child!

Here’s to the start of an amazing 2016-2017 Homeschool Year!

*These tips assume that you’ve already defined your teaching style and have chosen the resources that work best for you and your child. If you’re feeling stuck because you don’t know your educational philosophy or you don’t feel confident to choose resources then check out these posts:

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